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Worried about your financial situation? This ministry can help

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Compass Catholic Ministries offers financial advice and money coaching — and that couldn’t come at a better time.

Imagine all of this happening in the space of one month: You’ve bought a house, welcomed your first baby—and your spouse has suddenly lost his or her full-time job. For many people, this situation would be financially crippling. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s possible to prepare yourself and your family for reasonable financial emergencies (no comment on pandemics). One resource Christians can use for guidance in managing money well is Compass Catholic Ministries, a not-for-profit ministry that presents biblical financial principles from a Catholic viewpoint.

That unnerving situation of the young couple who lost a job while buying a house and having a baby? It’s a true story. Thankfully, however, the couple had been applying Compass Catholic principles since early in their marriage.

“They survived these three life-changing events with no financial harm,” said Caitlyn Kano, Compass Catholic’s ambassador for Strategic Initiatives. “Before all these changes occurred, they had changed their lifestyle to spend less than they earned. They had paid off debt and lived a simple lifestyle.”

It sounds so simple on paper: Save as much as you can. Spend below your means. Be happy with what you have. But a lifestyle of thrift and contentment with simple pleasures can feel radically counter-cultural, in a society where “keeping up with the Joneses” is de rigeur.

That’s why it helps so much to have a mentor and supportive community like those found through Compass Ministries.

“These lifestyle changes are what Compass Catholic is all about,” Kano said, “helping people escape from the materialism that is so prevalent in our society. Compass helps people find peace and contentment in the simple things, without the constant battle to keep up a facade of prosperity.”

Financial advice and money management programs abound, but Compass is the first one based on Catholic principles. Why does it matter to have a specifically Catholic program? One reason is that Catholics need financial guidance as much as anyone else, and another is that we are all connected to each other. Kano explained why so many people are in need of money coaching:

Catholics are average Americans. Over 38 million households live paycheck to paycheck, 50% cannot cover an unexpected expense of $500, and 59% are worried about running out of money. The truth is that most of our financial issues are not unique. We just think they are because we don’t talk about them. Together, we can benefit by sharing personal stories of becoming faithful financial stewards.

On a deeper level, we are all united as the Body of Christ. What affects one member affects us all.

“When our families struggle with finances so do our parishes and dioceses,” Kano said. “We realize now, more than ever, that a financially healthy parish starts with financially healthy parishioners.”

Besides books, studies, a blog, and a podcast, Compass Catholic Ministries offers the following resources:

  • Catholic financial Bible study with an Imprimatur
  • Free money management tools
  • Planning for financial freedom
  • Workshops
  • Newsletters
  • Parish stewardship reflections and prayers

They’ve also just launched a Money Coach Training Program in May 2020, which trains and certifies Money Coaches to volunteer within their parishes, local communities, or remotely using video conferencing.

“Compass Catholic has been working on developing the Coaching Ministry for over a year and we did not anticipate how appropriate the timing of the program roll out be,” Kano said. She shared some information about the program:

“Money Coaches are not financial experts, nor do they give financial advice. They provide a goal setting framework, accountability, and tools for stewards [clients] to succeed in reducing their financial stress and accomplishing their financial goals.”

If the need to manage finances prudently was ever in doubt, this pandemic has certainly shown its importance.

Kano said, “The two things we hear most often from people who have taken a Compass Bible study are, ‘Why doesn’t the Church teach more practical things like this?’ and ‘I wish I had learned this earlier.'”

But it’s never too late, and Compass Catholic Ministries is a resource for all Christians and parishes in the process.

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